If you belong to a church or another organization which is proud of its own “diversity,” I’m calling you out. I’m not sure you’re as “diverse” as you think you are.
Sure, you may have your Arab friend and your Jewish friend and your gay and blind and 10-foot friend. But, I argue none of you are really THAT different, if you have the exact same views on sacred “diversity.”
Does everyone in the group nod at the word “tolerance?”
Does the topic of “compassion” come up a lot?
What about the term “social justice?”
Yeah, see, I’m willing to bet you don’t have a friend like me anywhere in your close circle. And if you used to know someone with my views, you probably grew apart because he/she was too arrogant.
(I can’t count how many times someone has told me, “I have LOTS of Christian friends. But they’re not judgmental like you!”)
Do you believe life is too short to spend with religious zealots and dogmatic Bible-thumpers?
That’s fine. But your friends aren’t diverse.
First, let’s examine the story of a church-like organization in California that calls itself “Glide.”
“In 1967, Cecil ordered the cross removed from the sanctuary, exhorting the congregation instead to celebrate life and living. ‘We must all be the cross,’ he explained. …As the conservative members of the original congregation left, they were replaced by San Francisco’s diverse communities of hippies, addicts, gays, the poor, and the marginalized. By 1968, the energetic, jazz-filled Celebrations were packed with people from all classes, hues, and lifestyles.“
Uh. Except Conservatives, remember? They left. But let’s keep going…
…GLIDE is a place where old, destructive ways of being are thrown out and new ones created… [A] simple call goes out to all races, classes, genders, ages, and sexual orientations: It’s recovery time. It’s time to love unconditionally.”
Do I really need to explain what’s wrong with this? Isn’t it obvious that this “church” isn’t hugely, vastly diverse–just because the members come from different races and religions? They all have the exact same beliefs!
Nothing matters to them, except new, open-minded, lovely, unconditional acceptance…
…which means there’s no way someone like me would find acceptance at all.
I’d be a project. 🙂
The same inconsistency goes with the Unitarian Universalist Association. (These quotes are taken from the page Are my beliefs welcome?)
“In Unitarian Universalism, you can bring your whole self: your full identity, your questioning mind, your expansive heart.
We are creating a force more powerful than one person or one religion. By welcoming people who identify with Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism,Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Earth-Centered Traditions, Hinduism, Islam, and more, we are embodying a vision ‘beyond belief: a vision of peace, love, and understanding.
We are building an action-oriented community, bridging races, religions, and creeds…”
Which means that your new “creed” trumps all the old ones. People who once considered themselves Atheist or Buddhist or Christian can come to the Unitarian Universalist Church when they’re ready to let go of specifics.
“[Our] Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”
So, if you tend to crave doctrine, you’re a little too “diverse” for this group.
Finally, I found this “About the Pastor” section for a church in my home state called “The Church Within.”
“[All] Religions have offered us maps, one after another, to find our way to some sublime experience that someone, at some time, found so life-altering they wanted to invite us along with them….I believe that every path, when really explored and engaged, has at its core the same hope – that we should all realize that there are many paths and that they all lead to the same place. And, why wouldn’t we want to walk together with our brothers and sisters?”
The Reverend seems to have missed that one of those religious leaders claimed to be the ONLY way–and that looking in other places ultimately would NOT be fulfilling.
He also may need to be careful with phrases like, “we should all realize…”
That almost sounds like doctrine!
“…Walking all of this forward into being pastor, it’s my hope that ‘The Church Within’ will continue to grow in its ability to create the abundance needed to do the outreach that has meaning for those being served and that engages growth for those being of service. I truly believe that there are available to each of us ways of being that open doors to peace for us and for all. Living well means focusing our attention on finding and expressing these ways of being as consistently as possible.”
If you need to re-read that a few times to wrap your mind around all the prepositional phrases, go ahead. But, personally, I think it just sounds more like gibberish the harder you try to make sense of it.
SO, let’s just come back to my point.
ALL of these hip, new age, all-inclusive organizations are excited about how diverse they are. They’re quick to tell you that anyone is welcome because they’re a progressive, multicultural group.
But, in reality, the members aren’t REALLY that different from each other because Diversity is the one thing all of them worship above anything else. Any other belief you may have is just personal, opinion-driven, and (in other words) not really that important.
Which means people like ME get pushed out the back door.
Where are the members of these supposedly-diverse groups who are demanding answers instead of feelings?
Where are the people pointing out that sometimes being unwilling to take a stand is taking the biggest stand of all.
Pretty soon, your celebration of unity and agreement-at-all-costs and diversity becomes (gasp!) …doctrine.
Yeah, I’m calling you out, “churches” and “charities” and other nonprofits claiming your certain mission is more important than religion. I’m calling you out, because that statement IS a religious one, in our culture.
It tells me a lot about your values, when you won’t list any besides Cooperation and Justice.
It tells me you probably don’t have many friends like me.
Side note: If you find yourself in the market for a close-minded and judgmental “friend” to round out the group diversity a little, go ahead and get a hold of me! 😉